Wifely Duties

I finished reading The Wife by Meg Wolitzer and also watched the film, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.

I didn’t expect to be, but I was disappointed by both.

I loved Glenn Close in the film — she was very good, but then I have not seen her falter in anything. Pryce was good too, his character was both pathetic and odious, and he portrayed him well. (He almost made me gag because he reminded me of a creepy someone in the lit scene here!)

However, I wasn’t convinced by the story. (No spoilers!)

In the film, I felt it was not developed sufficiently and so, I had trouble believing it. In the book, I didn’t think we got to know Joan well enough to understand why she did what she did. Intellectually it made sense, but not viscerally. We know Joan (a little) but we don’t feel her and so we don’t feel for her either.

Wolitzer’s writing style did not appeal to me. I found her voice cold and distant. Perhaps Joan is those things because of what she’s been through, but the author doesn’t allow us to get under her skin. She doesn’t give us a sense that Joan is torn between love and hate; pride and shame; she doesn’t make us feel Joan’s desperation.

Glenn Close, in the film, is successful in bridging that gap between the character and the audience. Her portrayal of Joan allows us to experience (at least to some degree) the conflicting emotions that must engulf the character at every turn. Still, I didn’t feel much more than a fleeting pity for her. Perhaps the problem was ‘resolved’ too conveniently and quickly. Or seemed to be. I suppose Joan is left to live with the truth, and to decide how to deal with it. Perhaps Wolitzer needs to write a sequel!

 

 

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To Have or Have Not

I did not know that Spike Lee had re-fashioned his film She’s Gotta Have It (1986) into a Netflix series!

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Tracy Camilla Johns as Nola Darling (1986)

Hmm, I had almost forgotten the film, which I watched a few years after it was released. I know I didn’t get it then. I didn’t get any of Spike Lee’s films. Back then there wasn’t much I got if it wasn’t in the great British/American tradition.

However, I remember I was impressed by Nola Darling (’86). I liked her attitude towards life and love, and men. I didn’t understand it, but I liked it and I admired her. I was jealous of her ability to love three men (and a woman) just enough without giving herself to them.

I’ve always known, but never acknowledged that I’m not a one-man woman. However, I’ve been a one-man woman in my relationships because I am not a jerk. I don’t want to hurt people. Also, I know I’m not evolved enough to be happy about my man having sex with other women and have no wish to be a hypocrite.

Sure, I have double standards, and I’ve been trying to figure out why (apart from the fact that I can be a bit of a dick) I do.

I think I am not secure enough to believe a man could sleep with others and still always prefer me. I know there are different things I appreciate in different men. I like them each in different ways because they’re different people. That’s the way I feel about my girlfriends and that’s how they feel about me. Why should it be different when it’s a man? Hmm … see? I hate how romantic relationships turn me into a green-eyed demon.

I admit it — I am possessive as fuck — not to the extent that I won’t let my partners have friends of the opposite sex (although look at how that ended with Martin and Ee Kee — he left her for me), but I don’t like them polyamorous despite being polyamorous myself.

I think polyamory is complicated and hard work and I don’t think I can handle such a lifestyle. I don’t think I can do the ‘committed to each other, but sleeping around’ kind of relationship. I don’t want to battle with my own jealousy and my partner’s. I don’t want to feel hurt and to hurt others.

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DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling (2017)

I figure the only option is to remain single. Like Nola Darling. Ish. Thing is, I don’t know if the current Nola Darling really knows what she’s about. Of course, I would need to re-watch the original to know what I think of Nola (’87) now, but Nola (2017/2018) … she’s too much of a child for me to take seriously. And her refusal to commit seems more about selfishness and self-conscious artistic posturing than a well-considered lifestyle choice. She’s twenty-seven after all. Haha, spoken like an old woman, right? Damn right!